Almost three decades of constitutional amendments, legislative acts and economic ups and downs
To understand how Colorado finds itself in its current fiscal condition, it is helpful to look back at some critical decisions made by legislators and voters over the last 29 years, and at some of the economic and political factors that drove those decisions.
Anti-tax advocates yesterday hailed the end of Referendum C, calling the timeout from TABOR rebates a "cowardly" move backed by voters five years ago and pushed by "spending bullies."
Fiscal conservatives gathered at the Capitol yesterday where they celebrated the end of Ref C, a 2005 voter-approved initiative that suspended a tax limit set by the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights for five years to fund health care, public education and transportation projects. The timeout ended June 30th.
Stalwart supporters of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to cheer the expiration of Referendum C, the measure voters approved in 2005 that imposed a five-year timeout from taxpayer refunds under TABOR.
The merriment was led by Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, which favors government spending limitations like TABOR. Other groups represented Tuesday included the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, Mothers Against Debt, Americans for Prosperity and the National Taxpayers Union.
DENVER – Overturning Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a strict constitutional budget-collar known by its acronym, Tabor, is not on either major party's official to-do list for the 2010 election cycle.
Unofficially, though, the law and its effects are being discussed just about everywhere.
"Tabor is always lurking in the shadows," said Terrance Carroll, a Democrat and the speaker of the State House of Representatives. "Right now, it's lurking near the top."
Colorado's fiscal and economic future is in "serious jeopardy" because of increased government control, according to a report released Monday by a conservative-leaning group.
But critics of the Americans For Prosperity Colorado report (published below) say the group is attempting to push a conservative agenda rather than honestly examine the state's economic future. Critics also call the "Colorado in Transition: Killing the Golden Goose" report to be "misleading," especially in the areas of health care and transportation.
By Jason Hoppin St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press Nov. 5, 2009
After seven years of budget battles, Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Thursday proposed a constitutional amendment to limit state spending.
Under the plan, spending in Minnesota's two-year budgets could not exceed revenues raised during the previous biennium. The impact would be to limit spending, since revenues tend to grow with the economy.
In 1992, Colorado voters approved the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a constitutional amendment designed to restrain growth in government. It took the acronym TABOR, which has extra meaning in Colorado because some of the state's history was shaped by the famous mining baron of the late 1800s, Horace W. Tabor.
TABOR applies to all levels of government in Colorado: state government, cities, counties, school districts and special districts. It is the most restrictive tax and spending limitation in the country.